Making a Difference Events

St Mary’s Priory Reunion For Very Special Old Princethorpians (VSOPs) - Saturday 22 September 2018

On Saturday 22 September we were delighted to welcome to the College some ‘old girls’ from St Mary’s Priory, known to us as ‘Very Special Old Princethorpians (VSOPs).

The informal get-together, allowed for plenty of time to chat, reminisce and to look around the College and see how it has changed over the last sixty or seventy years.

The day started with coffee and pastries, and a chance to catch up with friends and make new acquaintances. Our archivist, Janette Ratcliffe had set up a fascinating display of memorabilia, stretching over many decades, and our VSOPs took great delight in browsing through old exercise books, photographs and ‘Peeps’ school magazines.

We were overwhelmed by the warmth shown towards the College, and it was lovely to spend time with our ‘old girls’, hearing memories of their school days here. For us, it was a further opportunity to cement friendships and to learn more about the history of the place which we all love so much.

After a delicious buffet lunch and a short welcome from our Headmaster, Ed Hester, we were able to offer our guests the chance to see the new Princethorpe College film click here to hear about exciting new developments at the College, and watch the Making a Difference Bursary Fund video which can be found here click here. If you would like to know any more about the 'Making a Difference' campaign, please click here to our webpage.

Next, came a tour of the College taking in the original chapel, now a library, and ending in the chapel for a short service given by Father Teddy O’Brien, MSC. Following the service, our guests were treated to afternoon tea, and a final chance to look at the archives, speak with current members of staff and exchange farewells.

We look forward to welcoming back the St Mary’s Priory girls in 2020 and a date will be published shortly.

OPs Enjoy Pub Meet At Ye Olde Mitre - Friday 18 May 2018

We had a cracking evening at Ye Olde Mitre on Friday 18 May at the OPs London Pub Meet. A tremendous number of Old Princethorpians from across the generations managed to find their way to this quirky, historic venue and up the steep stairs into the cosy Bishop's Lounge.

It was particularly nice to see some newcomers to OP events including Emilio Doorgasingh, Corin Johnson, Charlie Emerton, Simon Fisher, Maddie Sykes and Andrew Bunt and to wish many happy returns to birthday boy, Harry Robinson. London stalwarts, Daniel Bevan, Joel Gleghorn, Aaron Jaffer, Chris Santamarina, Michael Nagaur, Jeremy Peacock, James Simpson, Carmen Simpson and Ian Rudolph joined in the fun with the Princethorpe contingent led by OPs Chairman, Peter Rollason, Alex Darkes, Eddie Tolcher, Loretta Curtis, Rachel Hadley-Leonard, Harriet Brember and Melanie Butler.

One of the loveliest things to see was how well all the Old Princethorpians got along together, regardless of whether they had been at Princethorpe in the 60s or had only left three years ago! Roll on the next OPs event, our Summer Supper on Friday 22 June, celebrating the leavers with an 8 in their leaving year. Leavers from other years are most welcome too.

Hong Kong Development Visit Abounds With Memories, Hospitality and Friendship - Saturday 14 April 2018

During the Easter holidays a contingent from Princethorpe, comprising Headmaster, Ed Hester, his wife, Tracey, Fr Teddy O’Brien MSC, Development Director, Rachel Hadley-Leonard and Old Princethorpians’ Secretary, Melanie Butler journeyed to Hong Kong to meet with past pupils who had boarded at the College from the late 1960s to the 1990s.

The focus of this return visit was a Development Reunion Dinner at the prestigious Hong Kong Club, in Central on the evening of Saturday 14 April, but an amazing itinerary had been arranged around this event to give the visitors a thorough introduction to all the sights and delights of Hong Kong. The OPs behind masterminding the schedule and helping organise the dinner were Alan Young, Vitus Leung, Nelson Ngai and Heman Lam – or the ‘Fantastic Four’ as they soon became known.

All Old Princethorpians living in Hong Kong or the Far East had been invited to the Development Reunion Dinner and the response to the invitation had been very positive, with acceptances from across the generations. Most of the guests are resident in Hong Kong, but others travelled from further afield, including Simon Loasby who now lives in Shanghai, Jonathan Leung from Singapore, Peter Lee from China and Peter Yang (aka Fat Jack) and his wife, Kitty from Australia.

On the Saturday evening after a short drinks reception, a delicious three-course buffet was enjoyed by the 40-strong group in the club’s private Harcourt Suite. Guests were sat at five tables depending on when they had attended and named after key locations at Princethorpe, from the Quad, to the Refectory, the Study Hall, the Orchard and Switzerland. A slide-show of archive photographs played throughout the evening, bringing back memories and fuelling tales of bygone days. Guests also had their memories tested by a special quiz relating to Princethorpe and its past, with points earned being allocated to their former Houses.

Over the few short days that the Princethorpe group spent in Hong Kong with their kind and trusty guides, they had a wealth of experiences from the stunning views from The Peak, to a tram ride across town to the Hong Kong Park, climbing 200 steps to see the giant Buddha on Lantau Island, the sights and sounds of Tai O village and fascinating visits to the Hong Kong Government Offices thanks to David Chung and to Hong Kong University, courtesy of Professor Paul Cheung. They also had an amazing array of culinary experiences from a traditional Dim Sum brunch, to Chinese, Cantonese and Thai banquets.

Commenting on the visit, Headmaster, Ed Hester said, “We were completely overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome we received and the hospitality shown to us. There is clearly a huge fondness for Princethorpe within the OP community in Hong Kong and they seemed delighted to be reminded of times past and also to see the many developments that have happened at the College over the intervening years. We hope that the Hong Kong OPs will find ways to support us, keep in touch and come and visit us at Princethorpe soon.”

A huge thank you to all our guests for attending the Dinner and particularly to the Fantastic Four, Alan, Vitus, Nelson and Heman, for their endless good humour, hospitality and friendship.

Thanking You With Princethorpe Blue! - Tuesday 12 December 2017

The Development Office were delighted to host Trustees, former and current parents, staff and friends of the college in the Sixth Form dining room for a festive cheese and wine reception. The evening was to say a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to all our donors and supporters who have helped our work over the last year.

We were fortunate to be able to have on offer our famous Princethorpe Blue cheese truckles, along with Crackley Hall and Crescent cheeses, supplied by our dear friend and OP Melvin Glynn of Windyridge Cheese.

Ed Hester talked to our guests about the work of the Development office and how the 50 + 10 Bursary Fund has already begun to impact on the lives of pupils at the school. Our current initiative, aimed at regular giving, encourages supporters to forgo three cups of coffee a month and donate £12 to the Bursary Fund, and we are delighted that this campaign is gaining traction.

Ed thanked the guests for their time, donations and support for the initiative and talked about our ambitious plans for the future for both bursaries and the new Science building.

Development Group Members meet at Wright Hassall - Sunday 24 September 2017

The newly formed Development focus group was kindly hosted by Princethorpe parent, Robert Lee, at the stunning offices of Wright Hassall solicitors in Leamington Spa.

The group, which consists of five current and former parents, generously give their time, guidance and advice to the Development Team, giving valued feedback on latest projects, such as the Bursary Campaign's "Cut the Coffee" regular giving initiative.

The group meets termly and is a very convivial, informal and creative forum for discussion. The Development team values donations of time and expertise greatly and it is wonderful to have such a mix of skills around the table.

London Donors Meet With College Staff - Thursday 8 June 2017

On Thursday 8 June, former pupils Jide Olanrewaju and Finbarr Roche-Kelly, together with Jide's wife Roseanne, met with the Headmaster and College staff at Beaufort House, Chelsea for a lovely evening of shared memories of the College.

Jide, and his brothers Tunde and Yemi, who attended Princethorpe College in the 1990s, generously donate the Biodun Olanrewaju Memorial Prize each year at Prize Giving, in memory of their father. The prize is awarded to a student who embodies the values and ethos of the College and is intended to allow the recipient to further their interests, studies and/or travel.

Finbarr, a pupil at the College in the 1980s and a regular donor to our 50 + 10 Bursary Fund, shared some funny stories about his time at Princethorpe, and Alex Darkes, former pupil and Assistant Head, was keen to reminisce too. The former pupils were thrilled to hear about developments at the College, particularly the redevelopment of Switzerland and the outdoor classroom, and of our plans for a more philanthropic future.

The evening ended with an open invitation to visit the College and see the developments first hand; an invitation that is open to all of the Princethorpe community, far and wide.

Launch Dinner - Friday 3 March 2017

On Friday 3 March the Development Office held a dinner to launch the 'Making a Difference at Princethorpe' campaign. The 50 + 10 Bursary Fund aims to provide at least ten full bursary places to deserving pupils whose families could otherwise not afford the fees.

The evening began with a drinks reception and a chance for guests to re-acquaint themselves with old friends, staff and pupils whilst meeting new faces. Following a fabulous dinner provided by our college caterers, the Headmaster was delighted to introduce the cheese course. This was of particular note because cheesemaker and Old Princethorpian Melvin Glynn, had designed and produced a cheese made specifically for us, the ‘Princethorpe Blue’. Melvin’s company, Windyridge Cheese, also provided a truckle for each guest to take home!

Almost 100 guests then learnt more about our plans, and heard from past recipients of bursaries about their life-changing experiences. Although unable to attend in person, we also heard from our inaugural donor, Mr Ranjit Boparan, who has pledged to fund a full seven-year bursary place, beginning in September. A fabulous kick-start to the campaign.

Father Alan Whelan, former Headmaster and MSC, spoke on behalf of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart about the ethos of the College, and he was delighted to announce that the MSCs will continue to support the Foundation, this time in the form in a Sixth Form Bursary place for a Catholic student.

Due to the generosity of our inaugural benefactor, we have been very fortunate to work with Zeus Films, to produce a short film which highlights the difference a Princethorpe education makes. Our guests were treated to a premiere showing of the film, which lasted just over 5 minutes, but captivated our audience for every moment. The film can be seen by clicking on the image below:

We have been humbled by the response to the evening, with a wealth of positive feedback and we are delighted to report that several donations have already been made. Every donation is valued equally, no matter what the size and all gifts ‘make a difference’.

If you would like to know more about how to Make a Difference at Princethorpe, please contact the Development Team at, telephone the Foundation Development Director, Rachel Hadley-Leonard on 01926 634265 or fill in the form by clicking here.

To view a gallery of pictures from the evening see the slideshow below:

Cheese and Wine Festive Thank You - Tuesday 13 December 2016

The newly established Development Office gathered with former and current parents, staff & pupils in the Round House, for delicious cheeses, canapés and a little festive tipple to begin the Christmas season.

The evening was to say a festive thank you to all those who have helped us in the past few months.

There have been many ideas, suggestions and conversations about our Development plans entitled ‘Making a Difference’, which are gaining momentum all the time and will be formally launched in early Spring.

It was lovely to see friendly and familiar faces from across the generations, coming together to support the College.

At the end of the get-together we were treated to a flying visit from the pantomime dame, Shirley, (alias Connor Tait), who had nipped out from the Sixth Form Panto, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

We look forward to working with the wider Princethorpe community in the coming months and years, to enable us to offer more bursaries to deserving pupils and increase our focus on making a Princethorpe education available to all.

Contact Us

To contact the Development Office call 01926 634265 or email
Rachel Hadley-Leonard

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